Multiple European countries set records Thursday for the number of new coronavirus cases reported in a single day as the continent continued to grapple with a resurgence in infections.
In Germany, 6,638 cases were reported over the past 24 hours, while the Czech Republic announced a new high of 9,544 cases. Slovakia reported 1,929 new cases, also its biggest one-day tally since the pandemic began. Poland set a record for the second day in a row with 8,099 new cases, and Croatia tallied 793 infections in its worst day yet. Italy, Portugal and Slovenia have also seen record numbers of new cases in recent days.
“Does that mean we are back to mid-March?” Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization director for Europe, said in a Thursday briefing. “No, we are not.” Although the record numbers are reason for concern, he said, testing is far more widespread than it was in the spring and fatalities are significantly lower. Europe is also now far better equipped to handle an upswing in infections, he added.
Although most European leaders have expressed a desire to avoid another round of strict lockdowns, many are imposing new restrictions in hopes of containing the new surge. Curfews for bars and restaurants have been announced in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel warned late Wednesday that young people must “do without a few parties now in order to have a good life tomorrow or the day after.” Bars and schools have been shut down in the Czech Republic, and Croatia is mandating masks in public places and limiting capacity in bars and restaurants.
On Thursday, Kluge said that “lockdown” no longer has the same meaning it did in the spring and that shutdown measures have grown more targeted. He urged leaders to “do everything possible to keep schools open,” given the ramifications of keeping students home.